My Dad was a soldier in the Vietnam War.
(Yes, Australia participated in the Vietnam War.)
Of course I have been aware of this all my life. I would not say Dad was forthcoming about his 'war stories', but was always willing to discuss them if asked.
Dad's tales always had a unique perspective because he was a 'Dog Tracker', meaning his journey through the jungle was shared with a Kelpie-Labrador cross called Caesar.
(Australia's war dogs were named in this way... Marcus, Cassius, Tiber, etc)
Peter Haran and Caesar
After a battle, it was Caesar's job to sniff, follow and then 'point' at the escaping 'enemy'.
I suppose this often put Dad at the pointy end of a second firefight.
It also means Dad had a quirky 'man and dog get into scrapes' angle to his time at war. On a few occasions Caesar saved Dad's life.
After the war Dad became a newspaper journalist, so perhaps it was inevitable that he would write a book about his Vietnam experience.
The book was called Trackers and has been quite successful.
Reading the book was an eye-opener for me, giving me a much better idea of what Dad went through.
But I always think the best way to understand a story is to go there - to stand where it happened. Take in the smells, the geography, the sounds,
So last year I travelled to Vietnam with Dad and we went to many of the places where his stories took place.
I am slowly turning them into short videos and posting them to YouTube. This was something Dad encouraged me to do - I was happy to just stand and listen to him talk.
The first video I've created is probably the most important, and is Dad's most 'famous' story. But I will let him tell it:
This extra video gives a little bit of extra information about land mines, and adds some context to the main video: